EMA cuts Activities on Higher Staff Losses

  • EMA cuts Activities on Higher Staff Losses (c) Samot/ShutterstockEMA cuts Activities on Higher Staff Losses (c) Samot/Shutterstock

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is scaling back and suspending some activities as it loses more staff than initially anticipated in advance of its relocation from the UK to the Netherlands in March 2019. The agency said it now expects a staff loss of about 30%, with a high degree of uncertainty regarding mid-term staff retention.

"Staff who will not relocate to Amsterdam have already started to leave the agency, and this trend is expected to accelerate. In addition, due to the employment rules in the Netherlands, 135 short-term contract staff will no longer be able to work for the EMA," the agency said. Consequently, the EMA now plans to launch the next and third phase of its business continuity plan by Oct. 1, 2018 at the latest, in order to safeguard its core activities while preparations intensify for the move.

The activities being scaled back under phase three include international collaboration, the development and revision of guidelines, non-product related working parties, project governance, organization and attendance at stakeholder meetings and the publication of clinical data, which will be suspended as of Aug. 1. Detailed plans for implementing these measures will be released as soon as they are available, the EMA added.

In separate news, major pharmaceutical producers are stockpiling medicines in case of supply disruptions after Brexit. French drugmaker Sanofi said last week it is increasing its stocks by four weeks to give it a 14-week lead-time. Without disclosing details, Switzerland’s Novartis said it is preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and is planning to hold increased inventories across its portfolio of medicines.

US Merck & Co is said to be rethinking supply routes post-Brexit as needed stops for new regulations and tariffs could add as much as two days to delivery times. Reports said the drugmaker known as MSD outside the US and Canada may hire an additional 30 employees at its Haarlem, Netherlands, facility to deal with regulatory issue.

Last month, Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca announced it was increasing its drugs stockpile by about 20% in advance of a potential hard Brexit.

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